303-a. Agricultural districts; review. 1. The county legislative body shall review any district created under section three hundred three of this article eight years after the date of its creation and at the end of every eight year period thereafter.
2. In conducting a district review the county legislative body shall:
a. provide notice of such district review by publishing a notice in a newspaper having general circulation within the district and by posting a notice on the home page of the county's website; posting such notice in at least five conspicuous places within the district; and providing such notice in writing by first class mail to those municipalities whose territory encompasses the district. The notice shall identify the municipalities in which the district is found and the district's total area; indicate that a map of the district will be on file and open to public inspection in the office of the county clerk and such other places as the legislative body deems appropriate; and notify municipalities and land owners within the district that they may propose a modification of the district by filing such proposal with the clerk of the county legislature within thirty days of the publication and posting and mailing of such notice;
b. direct the county agricultural and farmland protection board to prepare a report within forty-five days concerning the following:
(1) the nature and status of farming and farm resources within such district, including the total number of acres of land and the total number of acres of land in farm operations in the district;
(2) the extent to which the district has achieved its original objectives;
(3) the extent to which county and local comprehensive plans, policies and objectives are consistent with and support the district;
(4) the degree of coordination between local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations that apply to farm operations in such district and their influence on farming; and
(5) recommendations to continue, terminate or modify such district.
c. hold a public hearing in the following manner:
(1) the hearing shall be held at a place within the district or otherwise readily accessible to the proposed district;
(2) a notice of public hearing shall be published in a newspaper having a general circulation within the district and posted on the home page of the county's website and shall be given in writing by first class mail to those municipalities whose territories encompass the district and any proposed modifications to the district; to persons, as listed on the most recent assessment roll, whose land is the subject of a proposed modification; and to the commissioner;
(3) the notice of hearing shall contain the following information:
(a) a statement of the time, date and place of the public hearing; and
(b) a description of the district, any proposed modifications and any recommendations of the county agricultural and farmland protection board.
3. a. The county legislative body, after receiving the report and recommendation of the county agricultural and farmland protection board, and after public hearing, shall make a finding whether the district should be continued, terminated or modified. If the county legislative body finds that the district should be terminated, it may do so at the end of such eight year period by filing a notice of termination with the county clerk and the commissioner.
b. The county legislative body may adopt any modification of the district review plan it deems appropriate.
c. If the county legislative body finds that the district should be continued or modified, it shall submit the district review plan to the commissioner. The district review plan shall include a description of the district, including a map delineating the exterior boundaries of the district which shall conform to tax parcel boundaries; the tax map identification numbers for every parcel in the district; a copy of the report of the county agricultural and farmland protection board required by paragraph b of subdivision two of this section; and a copy of the testimony given at the public hearing required by paragraph c of subdivision two of this section or a copy of the minutes of such hearing.
4. The county legislative body shall complete the review process described in this section by either terminating, continuing, or modifying the district on or before the district's anniversary date. The commissioner may, upon application by the county legislative body and for good cause shown, extend the period for a district review once for up to six additional months. If the county legislative body does not act, or if a modification of a district is rejected by the county legislative body, the district shall continue as originally constituted, unless the commissioner, after consultation with the advisory council on agriculture, terminates such district, by filing a notice thereof with the county clerk, because the area in the district is no longer predominantly viable agricultural land.
5. Plan review, certification, correction of any errors and filing shall be conducted in the same manner prescribed for district creation in section three hundred three of this article.
Last modified: February 3, 2019